Noticeable positive results were achieved during the implementation of the budget policy in 2002, the Russian President's address "On the Budget Policy for 2004," submitted to the Federal Assembly of Russia, reads.
It is pointed out in the address that the federal budget currently has a surplus, which makes it resistant to any influence of the situation on foreign markets. Additional revenues to the budget have allowed the formation of a financial reserve of about RUR230bn ($7.5bn). Real moves aimed at shifting to medium-term financial planning have been made.
The implementation of the tax reform has been continued. The new version of the Tax Code, adopted in 2003, will allow for making customs procedures more transparent and will give an incentive for a decrease in the flow of "gray" (unregistered) imports and correct payment of customs duties.
The financing of budget expenditures has become more regular, and the level of salaries of civil servants has increased substantially. Salaries of civil servants will grow by 33 percent in 2003. As a result of indexing of pensions, the pensions of 12m people have been significantly increased.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.